Last week we went heads-up with Rafe Furst to discuss Phil Gordon’s Final Table DVD. This week, we review the DVD.
First, let’s get this out there: Final Table raises the bar for all poker tutorials.
The set-up for the DVD is simple: It’s a World Poker Tour-esque final table. You’re inside the head of Phil Gordon, listening to his thoughts on each hand as he plays against a mix of different poker styles and scenarios.
Rafe Furst detailed the process of creating Final Table last week…and the effort the team at Expert Insight put into this DVD shows. From an experiential standpoint, you feel like you’re watching a movie more than an educational video. Since you get inside the head of Phil as he maneuvers through the final table, you learn by being part of the action instead of just passively watching the action or trying to force memorization of key points. This helps make the lessons stick, particularly when a scenario that played out on the DVD actually takes place in your live game.
The DVD contains over 30 chapters on important no limit strategies. Some standout segments include:
: : Pot Odds and Implied Odds. I know a lot of good players who still don’t totally get the concept of pot and implied odds (yours truly, being one of them for longer than I’d care to admit). That won’t be a problem any more after watching this DVD. This is the section Gordon showcases most often (as pictured right, at the WSOP), and for good reason. Simple and easy to understand, you’ll soon be calculating odds like you’re Howard Lederer.
: : Real-time play adjustments. How many times have you tried to get a pot heads-up and raise, but get one or two more callers than you intended? How do you now adjust your play after the flop? Final Table sets up these kinds of scenarios and explains how to re-adjust your initial strategy.
: : Selective aggression and dominated hands. Throughout the DVD, you’ll see situations on 1) when (and how) to be aggressive, and 2) getting away from dominated hands. Mind you, these are not revolutionary bits of information. But seeing often over-looked leaks in your (particularly online) game, like when to muck that A-T because you’re dominated, can save a good chunk of your stack. Reinforced lessons can be just as good as new ones.
The DVD is stacked with other solid, fundamental play strategies, such as the gap concept, jamming, acting on your reads, playing the texture of the board against your opponents, playing your table image against your opponent, and common mistakes to avoid (and recognizing those mistakes in weak players).
You’ll also identify with the emotions of playing tournament poker. The "fold…come on just fold" comments running through Gordon’s head helps make the tutorial seem more real. And the writers of Final Table did a great job packing in plenty of humor to keep the DVD entertaining and to keep you interested.
Final Table won’t teach advanced players anything they don’t already know. But that’s not the audience for the DVD. Beginning players with a good understanding of no limit hold’em, and intermediate players looking to make the next big leap in their game, will benefit most from Final Table. Gordon effectively details the framework to play consistent, fundamental poker.
And while we’re sure it wasn’t intentional, kudos to Expert Insight for making the 7-6 a critical hand towards the end of play. That by itself gets Final Table a ringing Wicked Chops endorsement.
So buy this DVD. For many of our readers, the $30 you drop on this will translate to much more earnings you’ll eventually bank in your home or other live games.